PR professionals know more than most how important research is to our field of study. I would like to extend some knowledge to ensure your research is on point for your next big assignment.
You may have a natural instinct to uncover all of the critical information needed to assist your client, or you may despise the thought of research. At any rate, it is a necessity for working on tasks given to you by your employer.
Research can be conducted in many ways. You may be in the library after class, on a lunch break looking for more details on your organization, or even in the comfort of your own home. Remember that doing research is not always fun, but necessary to be as effective as you can possibly be as an employee.
Here are five tips that I believe will work wonders for PR practitioner’s in the long run:
1.) Strategy is key.
No matter the objective, every PR campaign needs an effective strategy to become successful in the campaign at hand. Know your audience, know your objectives, and have a plan to execute your strategy.
“Extensive research can help you target the appropriate audiences, find the right influencers and determine the most cost-effective budget,” says Chrystl Sanchez of Weber Shandwick.
2.) Get to know your industry, and figure out their needs.
Clients will not always be well-known industries that you know off the top of your head like Coca Cola. Eventually you will need to do your part and investigate your client to figure out as much information as you can possibly find.
Speaking with your client is a great starting point for your research, but you will have to reach out to other news outlets to gather more information. A fantastic way to gather more information is to complete a S.W.O.T. analysis on your client. This way, you will know the strengths of the organization. their weaknesses, opportunities in the future, and threats in the current market.
The best way to figure these elements out is by hitting the internet and searching for the answers you may have about your organization. The more information you uncover, the better. Learning all you can about an industry will help you to understand issues and challenges a prospective client may face and determine how you can help, according to Bottom Line Marketing & Public Relations.
3.) Understand which news outlets are right for your client.
It is of upmost importance to research news outlets to figure out the best fit for your organization. Finding good reporters will also facilitate the process once you have them in your favor.
Figure out the strengths and weaknesses you have worked out in your S.W.O.T. analysis and do your research on potential media outlets. When you have an issue such as a bat in your garage, you call an exterminator, not a CIS reporter. The same thing goes for your news outlet choice. make sure you are going to the right reporters to give your organization the best chance.
4.) Identify your story ideas.
This requires internet searching and other forms of research. Reporters localize a lot of stories about larger trends and national studies that may be in the field of your clients work. This is a great chance to get your client in the news.
Questions for your reporter are key in this step because you want to uncover potential story information. You absolutely have to be able to be comfortable when talking to reporters and asking uncomfortable questions because their answers may be story potential. What seems normal to you may not be seen that way through outside eyes.
Did your strategy work?
Researching your results may be as simple as checking to see if your plan unraveled as smoothly as you thought, or it may take a little more effort.
Google Analytics, Twitter analytics, Facebook Insights and other third-party software platforms are available to simplify your analytics. This step is crucial to your employer because they will be begging to know if all your work made a difference or not! Showing that you put the time and effort in will be a plus in your employers book for the next campaign they plan to execute.
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